Olivia Wilde Keeps Wearing the $50 Sneakers We Loved in Middle School

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Olivia Wilde
Olivia Wilde. Photo: The Image Direct

At what point does an everyday item become a beacon of design? Visiting modern art museums, it's normal to see an Italian coffee pot in one wing, while a Warhol sits in another. And that's because, as humans, we value the ingenuity of commonplace objects. To an extent, of course; I don't personally need to see a Target shower curtain in the MoMA.

It stands to reason, then, that there is a specific moment in time when those objects transform from the sum of their material parts into something worth preserving, something that tells us about the human condition. In the case of one sneaker (and what could be more "normal" than a sneaker?), we think that moment hinges on Olivia Wilde.

While in London this week for boyfriend Harry Styles' show, Wilde was spotted wearing tinted aviator sunglasses, a black cardigan, a tee, tote bag, plain black leggings, and checkered Vans slip-on sneakers. On first pass, everything about her ensemble rang familiar — almost unnoteworthy, but her shoes kept echoing over and over again in our minds.

Vans have been a fixture in all types of wardrobes since the skater kids we went to middle school with solidified them as the edgy, yet easygoing, choice. While plenty of fashion relics from that era are enjoying a comeback, Vans never actually went anywhere. Instead they were slowly adopted by an ever-broader group of customers, with its simple silhouettes getting frequently knocked off by just about every other shoe brand.

Celebrities have been along for the ride, as well. In the aughts, they were an It-girl shoe often worn with skinny flares and extra-long camisoles. More recently, they're being tapped by Hailey Bieber, Addison Rae, Kaia Gerber, and others as the platonic ideal for completing their very-2022 big pants/little shirt outfits.

Seeing Olivia wear them, though, makes Vans seem immune to the perils of the trend cycle. Her to-the-point style, while always flattering and appropriate, doesn't fuss with the ebbs and flows of what's allegedly in or out.

A shoe that can hold timelessness in one hand, while courting relevance in the other? Well that sounds like something that's here to stay, perhaps even something that belongs in a museum.

Shop Olivia Wilde's work-of-art sneakers below.

Get the look:

Vans Classic Sneaker
Shop now: $50–$60; nordstrom.com

Vans Old Skool Platform Sneaker
Shop now: $70; nordstrom.com

Vans Old Skool Sneaker
Shop now: $60–$65; nordstrom.com

Vans Authentic Sneaker
Shop now: $32–$55 (Originally $50–$55); nordstrom.com

Vans SK8-Hi Sneaker
Shop now: $42 (Originally $70); nordstrom.com

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